I have always been a big fan of Abba. Love the music, the beat and even the dancing they did in concert. However, unlike Wanye after a break up, I never cried myself to sleep listening to ‘One of Us’. Doesn’t mean I didn’t feel the passion!
I would love to see them live in concert. It would be awesome. Reports out of Sweden say they were offered a billion dollars to get back together. They turned it down, no chance of a reunion tour. Brutal! So what is the next best thing?
Replacements! Same music, clothes, beat and dancing, but still just replacements. It just wouldn’t be the same. The quality just wouldn’t be there.
Earlier in the week former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant G.M. Bill Watters suggested he wouldn’t be surprised if the NHL turned to replacement players by mid-November. Other leagues have done this before. The goal of this tactic would be to break the union by having NHLPA members cross the line.
If the NHL decided to go this route it would make life very tough on many NHLPA members. Does a guy cross or not? Who would be the first guy? How long to wait before crossing? I wouldn’t want to have to make these choices. Even though you are a member of the NHLPA at some point you have to do what is right for just you. It could mean becoming a scab.
I am less interested in the reaction of NHLPA members than I am in the NHL fans. Would they want to see scabs play? Would you?
Where would these replacement players come from? Where are the next best 750 hockey players hiding? My guess would be the AHL, the European leagues and drafted players currently playing at a junior level somewhere in the world.
Would the hockey be good? It would be about the same level as the AHL.
Photo: southcentral/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 2.0
Right off the top, the most talented players are no longer playing in the NHL. So no Crosby, Malkin, Kane, Jagr, or Parise. Eventually, players would come along to fill the star power the NHL has now but it would take time. Don’t expect it by Christmas or even in the next three years.
Could the bottom half of the roster be replaced right away? You could find guys to take those spots but they would all be missing something current third and fourth liners have. Many guys in the AHL cannot break through to the NHL because they are pretty good at a few roles required on a NHL roster but a master of none.
The bottom half of NHL rosters are made up of specialists. Even though they may not have the top end talent the top two lines have, trust me, they have plenty of talent. It is not super easy to replace them. If it is why do so many teams struggle to find a great fourth line center that wins draws? Energy players that bring it every night but can also think the game? Penalty killers that are willing to risk their lives by diving in front of Shea Weber bombs and most often not get hurt?
Trust me, the NHL-caliber player isn’t all over the place. Are there good hockey players outside the NHL? Yes. But they are not the same caliber.
The replacement player NHL would be of a lower speed and quality. Would you want to go and watch for the same price you pay now for Oilers tickets? How about fifty percent of that? Thirty percent? Fifteen percent? Now the price is down to what you would pay to see a game in the AHL because that is the level of play you would be watching.
Nope, I don’t think replacement players are the solution, compromise is. But if there were replacements players, who do you think would be the first current NHL player to cross the line and join the replacements?